The New York Times is laying bare just how disastrous President Joe Biden’s anti-Trumpian approach to border security has been, and how clueless the current occupant of the White House is as his administration grapples with the fallout.
That is, the notoriously biased liberal newspaper is shining a harsh light on the cold, hard reality that, for all the hysteria and propaganda over former President Donald Trump’s hard-hitting rhetoric on illegal immigration, good border policy is simply not derived from sunshine, puppy dogs and catchy, heart-wrenching slogans that activists like to paint on signs.
No, while the oftentimes wildly misleading negative news coverage that the Trump administration border enforcement agencies received drove Biden to campaign heavily on a more “humane” approach to illegal immigration, once he took office, the flowery promises turned into a great, big, inhumane disaster once he took office, the Times reported Saturday.
And you know it’s bad if the New York Times is hitting the administration for this.
According to the report, while aides clashed and bickered and the Republicans pounced, Biden resorted to begging his staffers to tell him what to do.
“Who do I need to fire to fix this?” the president raged during a fraught Oval Office meeting on the border crisis in March 2021, according to the Times.
“Mr. Biden came into office promising to dismantle what he described as the inhumane immigration policies of President Donald J. Trump,” the report said. “But the episode, recounted by several people who attended or were briefed on the meeting, helps explain why that effort remains incomplete: For much of Mr. Biden’s presidency so far, the White House has been divided by furious debates over how — and whether — to proceed in the face of a surge of migrants crossing the southwest border.”
Biden advisers and other administration officials have clashed constantly over how to handle the wild influx of illegal immigration that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain admitted to staffers is likely to hurt the Democrats — badly — come November.
Last summer, Klain held a meeting with several senior aides, including domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and immigration adviser Amy Pope, during which he “told them that they needed to make sure the administration was not pandering to people who wanted an immediate end to Trump-era border restrictions,” according to sources who spoke with the Times.
“If they did not find a way to deter soaring illegal crossings at the southwest border, he said, accusations about border chaos would grow worse, anger moderate voters and potentially sink the party during the 2022 midterms,” the outlet reported.
You simply can’t fake successfully deterring illegal crossings at the southwest border, however, something over which Biden administration officials have clashed as they weighed rolling back Trump-era policies with … not doing this and standing a fair chance at keeping the little Dutch boy’s finger in the proverbial dam.
“One of the most fraught debates inside the West Wing over the last year has been what to do about Mr. Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, which forced migrants seeking asylum to wait south of the border until their cases were decided,” the Times said.
“Human rights advocates assailed the conditions in Mexico, where migrants often stayed in squalid camps where they had no legal representation and were at risk of assault. As a candidate, Mr. Biden had condemned the program. Once in office, he quickly terminated it.
“But it was one program that had been effective at keeping some migrants out of border detention facilities. During a meeting last summer convened to discuss options for dealing with the record numbers of migrants at the border, Ms. Sherwood-Randall raised the possibility of restoring the program, with some additional protections for migrants, according to two people familiar with the matter.”
Activists outside the administration were horrified and Biden himself wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but he said he would “not forbid” his staffers from exploring the notion, although “he made it clear that he did not want the idea leaking to the news media — and he did not want his name attached to it,” the report said.
The Supreme Court would later force the Biden administration to restore the policy all the same.
Meanwhile, the border crisis has raged on with record-high crossings, including over 214,000 migrants taken into custody in July 2021, the largest total in a single month in over two decades.
Agencies in charge of enforcing border security and housing and processing illegal immigrants are bracing for another busy summer with the administration’s announcement that it is ending Title 42 enforcement as of May 23. The legal provision was used by the Trump administration to return illegal immigrants to their country of origin amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And Biden’s long-awaited concrete policy on asylum seekers, which was only just released last month, will not be in place in time to make much of a difference in that vein.
All the while, the president reportedly has been annoyed that his aides can’t come up with a plan, and his aides have been annoyed with each other as they clash over sound policy, politics and a crisis so big that even the New York Times is highlighting the administration’s glorious failings.
When Trump ran for office in 2016, his promises of a “big, beautiful wall” and his focus on the dangerous situation along our southern border rallied his base and horrified his opponents.
When he was in office, the border crisis remained a crisis — so much so that he famously declared it a national emergency to evade Congress’ resistance to designating funding for the wall — but he certainly never had anything to fear when it came to lining out his policy.
With Trump and the border, what you saw was what you got. He wasn’t trying to be anything he wasn’t, that much was very clear.
Biden, on the other hand, has himself caught between a rock and a hard place. He and his frantic advisers and officials are virtually trying to achieve the impossible, that is, they’re trying to control the border crisis while still managing to appear as though they’re not really enforcing the border, at least not in any way that’s similar to how the Orange Man would have done it.
Moderate voters know that you simply can’t just let hundreds of thousands of immigrants walk across the border and expect anyone to benefit, least of all the migrants themselves, from this massive influx and the strain on our federal agency’s resources, and the longer the crisis rages on, the less realistic the Democrats’ promises of a more human solution to the crisis appear to be.
Meanwhile, activists — to whom it is a sound policy platform to simply eliminate borders and, heck, border enforcement agencies and police departments entirely, because why not — are most certainly likely to make a lot of noise if Biden’s approach to border security resembles Trump’s in any way.
Which, considering you have to actually enforce the border to enforce the border, is going to be pretty dang difficult not to do if Biden has any chance of controlling the flood of illegal immigration into our country in any halfway reasonable way.
By the sound of it, however, between clashing administration officials, political pressure from all sides and a president who just shouts at his staffers to tell him what to do, there’s a good chance that no one is getting anywhere, and that this is probably going to hit hard in the polls come November.
Is the Times trying to get ahead of a massive political defeat for the Democrats?